Even if you’ve never heard of a “listicle,” you’ve seen one.
They’re the list-based blogs and articles with titles like “Top 10 X…,” the “7 Myths about Y…,” or “5 Tips for achieving Z….”
(In fact, this article is technically a listicle.)
Listicles have taken the content marketing world by storm, but are they worth the hype?
The answer is YES...as long they’re informative and helpful to your readers.
So, why add listicles to your content calendar? Here are the five best reasons...
1. They’re skim-friendly.
People don’t take the time to read stuff word-for-word the way they used to. With so much media vying for their attention, most readers skim articles for the most important information and then move on.
Lists are a great way to call out the and compartmentalize information in a way that’s easy to digest.
With listicles, you make the reader’s job easier, and you get your message across quickly.
2. They make for click-worthy headlines.
There’s something irresistible about a listicle headline. For example, consider headlines like “5 Unconventional Ways to Stop a Disgruntled Client from Jumping Ship” or “7 Mistakes That Are Costing You Your Next Promotion.”
Both of the above examples promise a quick read while sparking curiosity. Readers feel the need to click on these headlines no matter what.
Furthermore, headlines that include numbers tend to stand out to readers—especially those with odd numbers. And the more click-worthy your headlines, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website. Some marketers have found that improving your headlines can increase traffic to your articles by as much as 500%.
3. They give readers actionable steps to follow.
Listicles provide readers with clear action steps they can take, like ways to improve a process or ways to accomplish a goal.
These action steps give readers a way to personally connect with your content by making changes in their everyday lives
4. They’re more memorable.
List-based articles are easier to remember, plain and simple. And the more memorable your content, the more likely it is to be reference and shared by your potential customers.
Research shows that 7 is an especially memorable number, so if you’re creating your first listicle, you might as well make it “7 Steps…,” “7 Ways…,” or some other variation of “7”. .
5. They spread like wildfire on social media.
People love sharing a good listicle.
ClearVoice (a content marketing company) did a study analyzing more than 630,000 posts among popular publishers—including Entrepreneur, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review—across 14 industries.
The study found that listicles were among the two most shared types of content on social media for 13 of the 14 industries examined.
How to Write Better Listicles
Some see listicles as the “fast food” of content—quick, easy, but devoid of nutritional substance.
While there are a lot of “junk” listicles out there, many are well-written and provide readers with valuable information.
Before writing your next listicle, remember…
Make each point count.
Just because listicles are considered easy reads, doesn’t mean you should dumb down your copy. Each point in your list should include helpful information that teaches the reader something of value. Include research and citations that support your points.
Stand out from the crowd.
There are dozens of listicles about any given topic, so always find a way to bring a fresh perspective to your piece. Ask yourself what else you can say that hasn’t already been said.
Mix up your formatting.
Try writing listicles with numbered points, without numbered points, with long sections, with short sections, with breakout categories, with bullet points, with infographics…the options are endless. (Note how this article lists information in two different ways.) Use your creativity and common sense about what will best resonate with your readers. The more you mix it up, the less likely you’ll be to write a cookie-cutter listicle.
Deliver what you promised.
Avoid writing clickbait listicles that promise one thing in the headline and deliver something completely different in the body of the article.
If your title says “7 Ways to Become Debt-Free,” your article should feature 7 solid strategies to do just that, not 7 different types of debt to avoid or the 7 most common ways people fall into debt. Not delivering what you promised will appear spammy and frustrate you readers, which reflects poorly on you.
Businesses turn to Scorpion’s content marketing experts for help raising awareness about their brands and nurturing relationships with potential clients. Find out how we can help you with your content marketing strategy!
About the Author
Jessica Vernabe is a content specialist at Scorpion. She writes content that educates businesses about digital marketing best practices so they can improve their online presence and attract more customers. She also writes about the latest Scorpion news.
Jessica has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. When she is not working, she enjoys reading, salsa dancing, making crafts, and spending time with her husband and son.